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Probably the most classic of power saws, it easily makes straight or slanted cuts in many materials: wood, aluminum, plastics, synthetic foam, strong cardboard... But it also excels in fretwork and openings in full sign. In short, a saw "to do everything" which we can hardly do without.

Using a jigsaw

Tips and tricks

When sawing metals, lubricate the blade with a special lubricating stick. Roll back frequently to cool the cut.
To cut plexiglass, wet the cutting area with a little water. Choose a fine-toothed blade and, if the material melts, reduce the speed.
Cut the sheets less than 1 mm thick by placing them on a wooden support, or even between two boards.

Saw with precision and effortlessly

Lightweight, manoeuvrable, and extremely safe to use, the jigsaw is one of the most popular cutting tools in DIY. Thanks to a wide range of blades, it makes it easy to saw various materials with sufficient accuracy. The power of the models varies from 300 to 600 W.
Affordable machines with low power (300 W) are short of breath on thick materials: beyond 50 mm in the wood, which is already comfortable. The 500 to 600 W models do not have a faster oscillation frequency, but this extra energy doubles the cutting capacity and allows you to saw harder materials. Especially if it is associated with a pendulum movement and a quality blade guide.

Operation

Via a bevel gear, the motor drives the blade, mounted vertically, at high speed (up to 3000 strokes / min). Stuck in the groove of a guide roller, the blade supports the forces applied to advance the tool, can not deviate on the sides and ensures accurate cuts in thick materials.
On most saws, the blade only goes up and down. On those with a pendulum movement, it follows an elliptical trajectory. At the climb, it tilts forward to spread the attack of the teeth over the entire race and accelerate the cut. On descent, it moves backwards to reduce friction and evacuate sawdust.

The assembly of the blades

As always, before working on a power tool, unplug the power supply. Mount the blade on the shaft by placing it firmly in the groove of the guide roller and at the bottom of its collet. Depending on the fastening standard, the blades are held by one or two side screws, or by a screw at the end of the shaft. In this case, always keep a screwdriver close enough to reach the screw through the body of the tool.
The latest innovation, the tool-free attachment system: there are three types... The most common is a plastic or metal tab on the front of the machine at the bottom of the tree. Simply press it with your fingertip to open the blade clamp. But this process can hide the kerf, forcing the user to lean forward. Also practical, the front lever (AEG, Festool) can be used with gloves, and does not interfere with vision. Finally, the fixing by wheel at the machine head (Bosch) has the same advantages, but requires a little training. Located at the flange of the sole, an additional blade guide (Festool) allows for deep cuts well perpendicular.

The settings

Basic models are running at full speed and are used on wood. Because of the risk of overheating, the cutting of metals or plastics is virtually excluded. But if your machine has an electronic dimmer, you can adjust the pace (from 500 to 3,100 strokes / min) depending on the material. Use small speeds for sheet metal or ceramic, averages for soft metals and plastics, maximum speeds for wood and its derivatives.
The pendulum movement. A selector with three or four positions allows you to choose the amplitude according to the materials. Use maximum amplitude for fast cuts in softwood or synthetic materials. But know that then, the result is more rude. Reduce for hard or thick woods, agglomerates and non-ferrous metals. For thin cuts in wood, steel or fragile materials (polystyrene, tiles), it is better to remove the pendulum movement.
The sole. Supporting the machine, it tilts from 0° to 45°, on both sides of the blade to make slant cuts. To do this, slightly loosen the screws that hold it and tilt it to the desired angle. Sometimes it has to be moved backwards to release a blocking catch. Graduations usually mark the most common angles (15°, 20°, 30°, 45°) but a tilt control with a corner bracket will ensure perfect adjustment. On many models, the sole moves back to clear the blade a little more. It is thus possible to cut flush with a wall
vertical or to cut in open wood.

aspiration

Equip yourself preferably with an external suction system: it will gradually eliminate the sawdust of the cutting line and reduce the heating. The suction is often done behind the blade, through the housing or the sole. Some machines are supplied with a capture device, which is added to the soleplate and connects to the vacuum hose. Very effective, this kind of stirrup reduces visibility. On high-end saws, you can choose between suction and blower. A small steerable nozzle clears the cut line but disperses the sawdust around.

The care of

Secure the workpiece on the workbench and make sure that the cutting area is clear. The teeth of the blade being directed upward, splinters can occur at the output on the upper face of the piece. Always place down the face that will be used as siding, especially with the veneered panels. To avoid any inconvenience during work, check the free movement of the power cable. To start the cut, stand on your feet and wait until the machine is running at full speed. Hold it firmly, especially at the time of the attack.
There are two forms of jigsaws. The most common is simply a closed handle at the back. It is easy to handle with one hand, but is less convenient to guide with force and precision. So we work one hand on the saw to print the thrust and the other, along the sole, slightly behind the blade, to stabilize and guide. "Pro" machines take on the shape of small grinders. Their cylindrical body serves as a rear handle, and they have a ball or a mushroom on the front, in the axis of the blade, offering an excellent grip. They are always well pressed on the part and the guidance is more precise. But it is almost impossible to saw with one hand, except for rough cuts.

In use

Straight cuts. When they do not require great precision, follow your path. For parallel cuts near a song (up to 20 cm on average), use the side guide. For sawing in solid wood, slide the sole along a straight flange clamped by clamps or, better yet, against a guide rail adapted to the machine.
Beveled cuts. They are practiced by tilting the machine on the sole. Locate the angle on the graduated segment and block it. Perform a fall test to control the angle with a false-square. The cutting forces tend to deflect the machine to the side, use a cleat attached to the piece to counter this thrust. The inclination of the blade reduces its cutting capacity in height, do not forget to take into account...
The fretwork. The more sinuous the curves, the narrower the blade must be. To facilitate its passage, make fall side cuts perpendicular to the route. The parts thus delimited will fall as sawing. Never force the saw into curves to avoid breaking the blade or deforming the cut.
Inner cuts. To saw a circular opening, drill near the path, on the fall side, a hole allowing the passage of the blade. Start the cut until you tangent the line and saw a single pass. If the cutting window is square or rectangular, drill a pilot hole as well and advance the blade to the first corner. Back off a few inches and follow a curve to reach the adjacent side. Do this on all four sides to make the fall fall. Finally, by attacking the sawing in the opposite direction, complete the cutting of the angles.
With thin parts, it is possible to make a plunge cut in full material, without drilling a pilot hole.

Anatomy of a saw

Anatomy of a saw

A. Angle housing
B. Angle transfer
C. Pendulum movement setting
D. On / Off button
E. Drive wheel
F. Carter coals
G. Suction nozzle
H. Sole
I. Anti-puncture protector
J. Guide roller
K. Blade shaft
L. Quick fastening system

Fit the blades

Fit the blades

For the assembly of blades, traditionally requires a screwdriver or an Allen key. On recent machines, a simple lever to push and the blade locks itself... an appreciable convenience.

Adapt cutting speed

Adapt cutting speed

The variator makes it possible to adapt the cutting speed to the materials. We choose a slow pace for hard metals, average for soft and fragile materials, fast for wood and derivatives.

Adjust the amplitude

Adjust the amplitude

The pendulum movement improves the cutting speed and the evacuation of sawdust. Several amplitude settings can be adopted depending on the strength of the material and the desired finish.

Connect to the suction system

Connect to the suction system

All current saws have a dust extraction system to connect to a vacuum cleaner. It clears the cutting line for a better vision of the work and avoids the blade heating

Prime a cut

Prime a cut

To initiate a cut, place the front of the soleplate on the wood and align the blade on the path. Hold the saw firmly with both hands and start the engine at full throttle before starting.

Cut parallel to the song

Cut parallel to the song

To make straight cuts parallel to a song, use the side guide usually supplied as standard. The maximum cutting width with this accessory depends on the length of its sliding rod.

Extend the lateral guide

Extend the lateral guide

The lateral guide finds its limit beyond 20 to 25 cm from the edge. In full wood, use a cleat as support or mount on the saw a guide sole whose groove will slide on a specific rail.

Make skew cuts

Make skew cuts

Tilt the saw body on the base plate to make slant cuts. This maneuver decreases the maximum cutting height and requires more sustained control of the tool during work.

Cut out complex shapes

Cut out complex shapes

The jigsaw finds its full potential in sinuous and complex cuts. To make it easier to maneuver the tool, cut it into several pieces that will clear the cut and the blade.

Cut out a square or an inner rectangle

Cut out a square or an inner rectangle

If the inner window to be cut is a rectangle or square, prime the cut with a pilot hole near the path. Cut to the first corner, then back off and turn to the adjacent side.

Eliminate rejects

Eliminate rejects

Do the same for all four sides and finish in the pilot hole. When the fall is clear, finish the cut in the other direction to eliminate the waste remaining in each corner.

Saw in the woods

Saw in the woods

Usually, pilot holes are drilled for sawing in the woods. You can also do this directly by pressing the nose of the sole on the board, then tilting the machine held with both hands.

Cut a circle

Cut a circle

To cut out a perfect circle, use the side cutter as a compass and equip it with a special tip. Place the tip in the center of the circle and turn around it.

Cut laminates and melamines

Cut laminates and melamines

Laminates and melamines are often fragile and have an unfortunate tendency to produce chips during sawing. Use a splinterguard or masking tape to achieve a perfect result.

Saw a PVC pipe

Saw a PVC pipe

To saw a PVC pipe, wedge it and rotate it when sawing. Then choose a short blade to avoid hitting the bottom. With a long blade, you can saw both walls at the same time.

The blades

The blades

They are distinguished by their width and toothing: the diameter of the curvilinear cuts varies with their width. Use the narrow blades to sing. The large ones facilitate the guiding of the straight cuts. The blades with large pitch (large gear) are used for large flows of wood. Those with fine and tight teeth allow precise cuts in wood or steel. The knife blade (toothless) cuts cork and polystyrene foam.


Video Instruction: What Can You Do With a Jigsaw? A Lot! | WOODWORKING BASICS